At least the ANC’s hegemony is in the dustbin


At least the ANC’s hegemony is in the dustbin

It looks increasingly unlikely that 2024 will be our ‘new 1994'. But next Wednesday's election could still bring a turning point, believes MAX DU PREEZ, who stubbornly insists the glass is half-full.


ALL we really know in the last few days before the election is that the ANC will still be the largest political party after Wednesday. It will either dominate a coalition government or govern alone.

Now the question is whether the cadres will use their last five years in power to continue stealing and squandering, or if they are sufficiently shocked to realise that South Africa is fed up with their mismanagement and decide to rehabilitate themselves.

Whether the ANC gets 45% or 51% of the vote, the hegemony of the once highly praised liberation movement of 112 years is seriously undermined.

The old arrogance of the “sole and authentic representatives of the masses" is finally shattered, the rug has been pulled out from under the hubris.

Much will depend on whether Cyril Ramaphosa will survive an ANC defeat — or wants to survive. He may be the biggest disappointment of the post-Zuma era but is still light years better than any alternatives: think Paul Mashatile or Gwede Mantashe. I shudder.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

When parliament meets in two weeks or so, there will be new, strong voices holding the ANC accountable — black voices, like those of Rise Mzansi, ActionSA, Build One SA, the Patriotic Alliance, the IFP, and perhaps independents like Zackie Achmat, not just the shrill voices of the pale DA backbenchers or the clowns of the EFF.

The political dynamics in South Africa have fundamentally shifted and become more fluid in the past year or so.

Leading business leaders have established workstreams to help the faltering state.

Opposition parties have started collaborating and formed a Multi-Party Charter (MPC).

The ANC has further fragmented with the formation of Jacob Zuma's Zulu-dominated MK Party.

Civil society at many levels has regained its energy and assertiveness.

Communities are mobilising everywhere against decay.

A National Dialogue or Codesa 2 is in the pipeline.

Intense discussions are being held across previously forbidden boundaries, such as between the ANC and the Solidarity Movement.

“More of the same" is no longer an option.

Whatever happens on Wednesday, stagnation would have been worse.

But the earlier dreams of a DA/MPC government or in coalition with others are also in tatters.

If a record of governance was decisive for whom voters choose, the DA would achieved a two-thirds majority and the ANC would lose its deposit.

But the DA's myopia, “colour blindness", dominant white faces and lack of understanding of the national political dynamics have prevented it from appealing to more than a quarter of the electorate.

The MPC concept did not capture the imagination of many, and it was exacerbated by petty squabbles between the DA and ActionSA.

(Here's a sobering thought: if all 8 million unemployed over 18 voted for their own party, it would be the majority party.)

If the ANC indeed performs well below 50%, the markets would like to see it form a coalition with the DA/MPC. Unless the ANC can camouflage it by involving people like Songezo Zibi and emphasising cooperation with the IFP and ActionSA, this is not a viable option.

Ramaphosa is already under severe pressure from the EFF, the MK Party and Cosatu because he is supposedly in the back pocket of white monopoly capital.

If the two parties that like to threaten violence, the EFF and MK, perform much weaker than the 15% or so predicted for each, they can easily use the rejection of an ANC/DA coalition as an excuse for unrest.

It seems to me that a coalition agreement between the ANC and the IFP, plus perhaps parties like the PA and Al Jama-ah, is the most likely — or a minority government with voting agreements with some of the opposition parties.

But perhaps the ANC will get its 50%. In the last few weeks, it has strongly consolidated its support — and the lights are still on.

KwaZulu-Natal, with its tendency towards political violence and the strong performance expected from MK, is the biggest concern. If the ANC and the IFP together do not get more than 50%, an MK/EFF provincial government in KZN is in our future. And that is a nightmare.

The good news is that it looks as if the Electoral Commission of SA is reasonably well organised and can be trusted to handle the election and results properly. All the checks and balances are in place, and the voting and counting will be closely watched by party agents and external observers.

Let me give the last word to my friend Justice Malala, who writes on BusinessLIVE: “What South Africa needs now is either an ANC that has been given a bloody nose or a new party, with new leaders, with a new energy and focus, that will dedicate itself to eradicating the problems we face. What South Africa needs is a new mandate."

Next stop: 2029.

♦ VWB ♦

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION: Go to the bottom of this page to share your opinion. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speech Bubbles

To comment on this article, register (it's fast and free) or log in.

First read Vrye Weekblad's Comment Policy before commenting.